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Edible Russian Scrabble Cookies

September 26, 2011

These scrabble cookies had been burning a hole in my ovengloves for a while now. I can’t remember why I saw the post on Not Quite Nigella but just look at them!

Edible Russian Scrabble

So, when @farnorama ‘s birthday came around, along with a request for friends to create a font for him, I thought it was a great excuse to have a go at these. So why Russian? Blame Mr. B, it was his idea. As well as being a self-confessed font geek, Farnorama also has a bit of a love of things Russian – as well as relatives living in the vicinity, so it seemed like a nice way to make it a bit more tailored to him. Who knew that baking would lead me to learn the Russian alphabet!

Russian Alphabet

I used Sweetapolitas recipe rather than NQN’s for the cookies as she claims the know how to make the “Perfect Sugar Cookie“. Quite a claim, but to be honest if I could make my creations look even half as good as hers I’d be very chuffed, so I’m not going to argue! Also, I used the recipe for the BBCOneHD cookies and they went down well. The key seems to be in good vanilla for taste and in chilling and then freezing the dough before baking to ensure they don’t spread too much in the oven. You can see below that there is a quite large variations between the two recipes. NQN is much heavier on the sugar, whereas Sweet’ has vastly more flour and a little more fat comparatively.  I’m intrigued to know how this works out in the texture and shape. I imagine that NQNs would be more crunchy and less likely to spread but also less rich and crumbly? How do these recipes compare to ones you have used? I plan to try NQNs so that I can report back on the difference.

Not Quite Nigella’s 
85 g/3ozs butter, softened
140g/5ozs white caster sugar
180g/6ozs cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sweetapolita’s (halved for comparison)
227 g/8oz butter, softened for about 2 hrs at room temperature
200 g/7oz sugar
375g/5oz all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
1/2 tsp(2.5 g) baking powder
1 large egg (straight from refrigerator)
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp pure lemon extract (I left this out as didn’t have any)

Also needed: 1 box of royal icing powder (or make your own if you are feeling adventurous

To make the dough
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla (and lemon extract).

To create your cookies
Remove 1/2 of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of clingfilm on your worksurface.
Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2″ thick.
Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough.
Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes.
Remove one disc and remove clingfilm.
Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper  (you can dampen the worksurface underneath to stop it slipping) then place 2 wooden dowels (or two pencils sellotaped together if you’re me!) on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper.

*For scrabble cookies, you are aiming for 1/4-1/2 inch thick dough*

Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) so it’s flush with dowels–they will ensure that your dough is even thickness.
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice, placing them on a lined tray (use silicone baking mat if you have one) with 2″ clearance around each one and the edge of tray.

*For scrabble cookies, you will need to cut the dough into squares 18mm wide by 20mm tall (nearly 3/4″ square if you’re not being super precious about it) This is time consuming, but worth it. You can trim them again once they are cooked if you want really sharp edges. There are 100 tiles in a scrabble set and you’ll want some spares*

Place tray with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
Then bake 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

At this point,if you want to trim the tiles to make them really sharp-edged, you can do so
Cool tray on wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.

To decorate your cookies

Make up the royal icing according to the packet, add extra water VERY carefully a drop at a time to make a stiff but pipeable consistency and pop into an icing bag with 1,2,or 3 nozzle
Pipe a square outline around each of the tiles
Once this has set, take your leftover icing, or make some more and water it down a little so that you can “flood ice” the inside of the squares. You want it to settle into a smooth surface but not be super runny so that it makes them soggy.
Leave the icing to dry, definitely for several hours but preferably over night (trust me, the longer the better – it makes writing the letters on much easier) 
Use edible ink felt-tip pens (eg. FOODoodler – I bought mine on ebay) to write the letters and scores on to the cookies. 

Tadaa! It’s a labour of love, but rather rewarding to see the end result. Now…where’s my dictionary

And in case you want to know how to say the letters…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2011 9:21 am

    They look fantastic! I’m so glad that you were inspired to make them. I loved eating and making these too 🙂

    • September 26, 2011 11:34 am

      I am so excited that you saw this…and slightly embarrassed 🙂


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